Archive for the ‘3rd Sunday’ Category

Are We Ready to Let God Empower Us? 1-23-2022

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

In a book called, If I Were in Charge of the World and Other
Worries, the reader is invited to see the world through the eyes of a five
or six year old little boy.
If I were in charge of the world, he says: “I’d cancel oatmeal! I’d
cancel allergy shots! I’d cancel Monday mornings.”
If I were in charge of the world, he says: “There’d be brighter
night lights, healthier hamsters and basketball baskets forty-eight inches
lower.”
If I were in charge of the world, “you wouldn’t have lonely, you
wouldn’t have bedtimes, or ‘Don’t punch your sister!’ You wouldn’t
even have sisters.”
If I were in charge of the world, a chocolate sundae with whipped
cream and nuts would be a vegetable, and a person who sometimes
forgot to brush, and sometimes forgot to flush would still be in charge of
the world!
Question: What would you do if you were in charge of the world? Jesus gives His answer in today’s Gospel lesson. Luke tells us that
Jesus, “With the power of the Spirit in Him,” went into the synagogue,
as He usually did on the Sabbath Day, and read this passage from the
Old Testament Book of Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for He has anointed me. He has sent me to bring
Good News to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor!”
What do we proclaim to this world – we who call ourselves
Catholic Christians? What do we proclaim with our words – with how
we live our everyday lives.
I have people all the time say, what a sorry state our world is in
today.
My response:
We can’t put the blame on Christ and Christianity. We have to
blame ourselves in part, especially if we are merely card-carrying Christians – that is, Christians who claim to believe in Christ, but are uncommitted to his causes.
G.K. Chesterton was right when he said: “Christianity has not
been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
So it is not enough to be moved emotionally by Christ’s inaugural
speech today; we have to do something about it. We have to seek out
the oppressed and outcasts and support their quest for justice. We have
to reach out to the unwanted and unloved and reaffirm their dignity. We
have to listen to the cries of the wounded and poor and lift them up with
compassion.
If we don’t believe in Christ’s causes, then we shouldn’t stand up
and recite the Creed. But if we do believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, and if
we believe in committing ourselves to him, then we should stand up with
conviction and courage and proclaim the Creed! Then go live it as best
we can.
I close with this image –
A boy and girl returned to the girl’s home after their first date.
Standing at the front door, the boy asked, nervously, “May I kiss you?” No reply. Again he asked, “Can I kiss you?” No reply. A third time, “Can I kiss you?” Still no reply. “Are you deaf?” said the boy. “Are
you paralyzed? The girl replied.
Are we ready to let God empower us to do what we need to do to
be one of God’s servants today or as the young girl asked, are we
paralyzed?

Remember You Always Walk With God 12-12-2021

Sunday, December 12th, 2021

A few weeks before Christmas, a woman who lived in a New York
apartment building found a greeting card taped to her door. “Merry
Christmas from the custodial staff”, it said.
“How nice”, she said to herself and promptly forgot about it. A
week later she came home to find another card taped to her door. It was
the same message, “Merry Christmas from the custodial staff”. But this
time stamped right in the middle in big red letters, were the words,
“Second Notice”!
Many of us are terribly forgetful. We immerse ourselves in our
daily tasks of life as we must. We can forget almost anything: birthdays,
anniversaries, appointments, our bank balance, our glasses. You name
it, we forget it. We make lists so we won’t forget and then we forget the
list.
But our forgetfulness isn’t limited just to the little things. We
forget the big things as well; who our real friends are, what really
matters in life, who loves us, who needs us, what we were made for. We just forget.
I believe that is why we need to gather here – week after week; to
help each other remember who we are, remember what really matters,
and remember that we aren’t walking this long road alone. We’re
walking it with the Lord who is right at our side.
And what is this Lord like who walks at our side? Does God walk
with us as a critic? A police officer? A judge? Or maybe just an
impartial observer? In fact the Lord is none of the above.
The Lord walks with us as a partner and mentor who wants to see
us succeed and who understands that it’s going to take us a while. Now
what more could we ask? How can we not celebrate and rejoice as
today’s liturgy urges us. How can we not be confident and hopeful and
put all fears behind us. After all, God is with us and for us!
And there’s still more. Having God walking with us as partner and
mentor gives us the opportunity to be in close conversation hourly. With
simple words like, “Well, Lord, what do you think about this?” Or,
“Lord can you help me see this clearly?” Or simply, “Help, Lord, I can’t do this one alone.” Those are the kinds of words that partners and friends speak very often.
All of that is what we have to come together here to remember.
First, remember to rejoice and forget all your fears because God is with
us. And second, remember to listen to and talk to God about the real
stuff of our lives because God cares more than anyone else…and God
knows the way home.
I would like to close by sharing with you my idea of what God’s
special Christmas card would say to each one of us;
“Remember what you’ve seen me do”, says Jesus. “…the blind
see, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, and dead men raised
to life”. If you’ll let me, I’ll do the same for you”, he says. “I’ll heal
what is sick in your spirit, if you’ll let me”.
“I’ll open your eyes and your ears so that you’ll know what really
matters so you’ll know that happiness and peace are available to you
everyday, even on the worst days. I’ll show you that and let you
experience that, if you’ll let me.
“I will not insulate you from adversity, challenge, or pain. But I will always see you through them, and never let you come to ultimate harm. I’ll take you by the hand, and raise you up; I’ll help you to walk
and I’ll walk with you until your journey is complete, if you’ll let me.
“All that is my promise to you, my solemn pledge. And I will not
take it back”, says the Lord. We have a lot to rejoice about today!
Don’t we!!

God is Waiting to be Found 4-18-2021

Sunday, April 18th, 2021

The disciples ran to Jerusalem with exciting news.
“We just saw Jesus,” they exclaimed.
The others crowded around to get the details. They all wanted to
know how he looked. And you would have thought that these two
people who had just seen Jesus would have remembered how he looked,
but they could not do it. What was wrong with them?
All they could say were things like:
“He looked like a father stretching out his hands to his prodigal son
and his older brother.”
“He looked like he did when he laid his hands on all the sick,
restoring them all to health.”
“He looked like he did when he took Jairus’s daughter by the hand
and brought her back to life.”
“He looked like the apostles when they distributed those five
loaves and two fishes to those five thousand hungry people. “He looked like the hemorrhaging woman who reached out her
hand and touched his cloak and was healed.”
“He looked like the woman who washed his feet with her perfume
and was blessed with his forgiveness and peace.”
“He looked like the widow with hands folded in prayer, seeking
justice from that corrupt judge.”
“He looked like he did on the night before he died when he took
bread and broke it saying, ‘This is my body to be given up for you. Do
this as a remembrance of me.’”
So this is how they described Jesus’ appearance. And every time
after that, whenever they saw hands reaching out to touch the lives of
others, they saw Jesus alive.
I close with this story: A little boy was playing hide-and-seek with
his friends. For some unknown reason they stopped playing while he
was hiding. He began to cry. His old grandfather came out of the house
to see what was troubling him and to comfort him. After learning what
had happened, the grandfather said, “Do not weep, my child, because the boys did not come to find you. Perhaps you can learn a lesson from this disappointment. All of life is like a game between God and us. Only it
is God who is weeping, for we are not playing the game fairly. God is
waiting to be found, but many have gone in search of other things.”
In so many ways, the risen Christ is in our midst, present in the
love, charity and goodness of others, in the Sacrament of Eucharist, in
God’s Word – Broken and Shared, in the Community of Faith Filled
People and in moments of Grace and Prayer. Unfortunately, we often do
not realize it.
May our celebration open our hearts and spirits to recognize Christ
among us in every season of our life. “Lord, help us not to miss you.
Amen.”